Michael Bisping scored a signature win in front of his fellow countrymen by defeating Anderson Silva at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.
Bisping did his best work early by stunning the Brazilian in the first and then dropping him in the second. But the Spider sent the Count almost down for the count in the confusing moments to end the third as Bisping motioned for his mouthpiece and Silva capitalized by putting his knee in motion toward the Brit’s jaw. Silva believed he won the fight. But referee Herb Dean, perhaps on a make-up call for not allowing Bisping time to retrieve his mouth guard, ruled the former Ultimate Fighter-winner saved by the horn.
A bloodied Bisping battled back in the fourth. Silva enjoyed a strong round in the final frame, leaving the scorecards very much in doubt.
But the judges unanimously saw it 49-48 for Michael Bisping.
The 36-year-old Mancunian improves to 28-7 and hopes to land his first title shot, against middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, after a decade in the promotion. The 40-year-old former champion drops to 33-7, effectively defacing a Mona Lisa of a career with spray paint by losing twice to Chris Weidman, popping positive for performance-enhancing drugs against Nick Diaz, and dropping a decision to a very good but never quite elite Michael Bisping in his last four fights after winning 17 in a row.